Empty storefronts multiply, with workers staying home

The number of empty storefronts is surging in Midtown, where an absence of tourists and office workers has hammered the retail industry during the pandemic.

Nearly 30% of 311 storefronts were vacant in the retail corridors near Grand Central and in Midtown East as of the end of last month, roughly double the historical rate, according to a report Thursday from the Real Estate Board of New York.

Midtown’s recovery has lagged residential neighborhoods in Manhattan, Brooklyn and Queens, where storefront vacancies ranged from about 14% to 20%.

“The data underscores the critical need for workers to return to their offices,” Rob Byrnes, president of the East

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